August 20, 2008
The San Francisco Police Department is alerting the Chinese community to the latest series of an ongoing scam in which suspects identify themselves as workers from the Water Department to gain access to a residence in order to check water pipes. Once inside, one worker will distract the resident while the other looks for valuables.
There have been five reported incidents since July 2, and four between August 14 and August 18. The areas struck were the 1300 block of Hyde, 700 block of Union, 1100 block of Clay, 1100 block of Jackson, and the unit block of Water. All the victims were Chinese. Four of these incidents resulted in loss of cash, jewelry and other valuables. In all of these cases, one suspect came to the door and told the resident he was from the California Water Department. A second suspect lingered outside the doorway, waiting to slip inside once the first suspect was admitted.
The suspect who came to the door is described as a Hispanic male, 30-50. The suspect had short dark hair and was clean shaven. The suspect displayed some kind of identification card and carried a clipboard.
This scam is typical of others that have been occurring in the Central police district over the past two months in which up to three suspects claiming to be from the water department or other utility agency gain entrance to a residence to check on the utility. Clothing varied, but in some cases the suspects were wearing a reflector vest with a bogus identification card attached. All the suspects are identified as Hispanic, 30 to 50 years of age.
San Francisco Water Department personnel respond only by customer request. They carry a City and County of San Francisco identification card and arrive in a green and white official vehicle. If a resident is suspicious about someone claiming to be from the water department or other utility company, the person should be made to wait outside the closed and locked front door while the resident calls police at 553-0123.
For more information, please contact Inspector Mark Sullivan, Burglary Detail, 553-1351.
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103